A former Navy officer who threw a message in a bottle into the Atlantic Ocean said it found its way back to him 34 years later. Photo by Ron Herbst/Facebook
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A Florida man who tossed a message in a bottle into the ocean while serving in the Navy said the finder contacted him 34 years later.
Rob Herbst of Pensacola said he tossed two bottled messages overboard into the Atlantic Ocean when he was a 19-year-old petty officer in 1983.
"I am sending this off of the USS Coral Sea CV-43 Catapult One! We are currently on a world cruise deployment," he wrote on the enclosed notes.
Herbst said he heard from the couple that found one of the bottles, but he eventually forgot about the second -- until a recent Facebook message.
"Were you by any chance on the USS Coral Sea in 1983," Cindy Brevik wrote. "The reason I am asking is that we were in the Fl Keys in 1983 and found a message in a bottle that was dropped off the USS Coral Sea by Ronald Herbst."
Arkansas couple Gordon and Cindy Brevik said they found the bottle while boating in the Keys and it spent the next 33 years as a conversation piece at their home and in classrooms.
"I opened it up and thought it would be something cool to hang on to," Gordon Brevik told the Pensacola News Journal. "I'm glad I kept it all this time because it made for a better story than if I'd contacted him back in 1983."
Herbst, now 52, said he was amazed to hold the bottle and message in his hands again after so much time.
"I'm shocked," Herbst told WEAR-TV. "As a matter of fact, I almost forgot about the second bottle. We had so many bottles and I thought, 'I'll throw a second one,' and I was indeed surprised, and I couldn't believe he held onto it that long."
He said he plans to donate the bottle and note to Pensacola's National Naval Aviation Museum.